The rate of inflation in the Balearics is still the highest in Spain and, despite the economic down turn, is showing little sign of easing over the next six months. Figures for January to June report a three per cent rise in inflation, the highest in Spain, and over the past 12 months, inflation has been running at 3.7 per cent which, coupled with the Basque Country, tops the table in Spain. Last month, the cost of living in the Balearics went up by 0.1 per cent with hotel prices showing a further rise, albeit of just 0.5 per cent, but over the past six months, Balearic hotel, transport, restaurant and bar prices have risen by just under five per cent, above the rate of inflation. However, on the year, hotel, bar and restaurant prices have risen by 7.1 per cent in the Balearics, double the 3.4 per cent national rate of inflation for the past 12 months. The Balearics may well be the richest region of Spain, but it remains the most expensive, one of the reasons it is failing to attract tourists from the mainland this year. But residents and tourists alike are feeling the pinch, high street sales are down by as much as 20 per cent this year and, as reported earlier this week, bars and restaurants have seen takings drop by 50 per cent, taxis and car rentals have lost 20 per cent of their business and even the clubs are reporting a drop in business. The tourism crisis obviously is not helping, but the latest figures are for the past six months and highlight a lack of consumer confidence amongst Balearic consumers.

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